Astronomy Picture of the Day

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

Like a jar of pennies,
leap day saves seconds we have left every day
so the humans have a neat tidy calendar
except every 4th solar calendar February.

monk ton news flash...
$1.442 million to teach 160 kids in our little town.
sorry, was a little shocked when fred read me the town report
(civics lesson:our VT property taxes pay for this)

In my 30 something year experience living in Vermont,
Normally (ok, my normally) Leap Day in Vermont
has been frigid, miserable, a cold stinging slap in the face
adding another day to a long and difficult winter.

2012 Leap Day
is milder than normal,
an open winter,
more snow south of here
Great Ski-conditions w/the snow heavy up in the mountains.

Posting on the fly,
gotta get to work.
Happy Leap Day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gems in the Day

Sunday, I got lost in the world of preparing for taxes,

a whole afternoon gone,

fortunately cold and windy, sunny late February,

I threw open the curtains for some radiant heat

and sat there, filing papers,

punching you tube,

surfing the videos of musicians here and some are gone.

So I meandered to the Grateful Dead after seeing Bobby Weir's video with Levon et al.

Hmm, where first?

I had not searched before for the Dead and held my old memories,

the 1970's.

My number one favorite song is Box of Rain

So I heard it once and again.

Then Youtube teases you with ideas.

I saw the band interviewed about American Beauty,

my number one favorite album.

It was as special as the song and with a new layer of understanding.

I skipped around more, Etta James, Janis Joplin, The Carter family.

They all went well with organizing for yearly US and state taxes,

(where is my tea?) rote organization of meaningless paper

and I thought computers was supposed to get rid of all this?

My computer is unable to sort my papers, or tell me what is important, what is missing?

Still it is the conduit for the gems in the day like Box of Rain and Phil Lesh paying tribute to his father

with his memories that led to this perfect song.

They lead to memories of concerts past, lost friends,

The taxes, a burdensome ache,

softer with some decent music.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Flea Away, Flea Away...

This year, without frigid temperatures,
a few hardy fleas are still hanging on.
We have been trying to limit the toxic chemistry for ourselves, cats and any one else.
We did sprinkle Borax on the rug and let sit a few hours and vacuum.
Have been vacuming more.
And still needed more...
I looked for a flea trap and expected to pay a lot.
Then I discovered
a link to the best anti flea video:

We caught about 20 fleas over 5 days and now see none.
So it is a trap and a monitor.
The water evaporates quickly in our dry air.
We just added some more water.

Thanks to whoever thought this up-safe, non toxic, effective.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Interview with a Clone Chapter 4

Dr. Susan Wolf stood in front of the crowded U.N. meeting room, people standing in the aisles, crammed together

like no other meeting in recent history.

People were excited to see the “Girl Wonder” who had perfected animal cloning

By the age of 27 and stood in front of a worldwide audience of leaders and said

“Good Morning” in 87 different languages fluently.

Photos of her flying, sailing, skiing, gardening flashed overhead in a

Multimedia video produce by her friend Georgia who sat in the audience.

Georgia watched and was silently critical of her timing on the video, never satisfied and pushed for time,

She would edit it tonight for the next dog and pony show.

Georgia, Susan’s friend, confidante, and now agent, in this cut throat world

Where success often brings demons and dragons in equal proportions.

“Take the bad with the good,” Georgia’s mother used to say.

Dr. Wolf recited the “Good Mornings” and scanned the room relaxed

yet totally alert and engaged. She had a talent for detailed scanning if you will,

Reading the crowd, engaging those who like eye contact, respecting, turning away when needed, a natural Intuitive. She felt it was her sense of smell, observation, memory,

Her sense of nature’s order.

The last photo,

A Monkey,


Dr Wolf paused after the 87th greeting.

The music, once inspiring, stopped.

The murmuring from the naturally rude people


“Corky, my friends, is a clone.”

Then the video, Corky in Susan’s arms, affectionate, kissing

And loving Susan, and Susan loving back.

The audience was there,

Susan was cheered for 5 minutes straight while the video rolled of

The sweet Rhesus monkey and his

Adoptive mother, Dr. Susan Wolf playing, interacting.

Georgia closed her eyes, sighed and smiled a little. This moment was 95% of the battle for funding, buy in, distribution, the global market.

Finally the applause died down.

Susan began, “I understand language…applause….

And I understand Genetics….applause…as a photo of Corky, the captivating monkey

Stood 2 stories tall, inspirational music blaring, infusing the entire room into

Collective bliss.

Language and genetics are connected, similar, complicated, necessary, and

I understand them….applause.

And I know the future of sustainable living on the Earth and other planets like Mars or the Moon, and it was said it

Could never be done.

And I am here to say,


Corky here

(point to the screen…applause…no interpretation needed,

Just Corky’s charming sweet smile)….applause

Corky is the future of our success at space travel

And colonization….applause………..

Gigi Fairweather stood crammed next to the bathroom door listening.

She was a little jealous of her beautiful talented now famous roommate

In Air Force training and college. Still she loved Susan dearly and deep down

Wanted a piece of the action. That moment Gigi vowed to be the first

Captain to Mars and would be part of the first settlers, the first colony,

And she and Susan would do it together.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hey Another Saturday Night 2

Hey Another Saturday Night,
must be a Ramble
goin on

We have been fortunate to see Levon helm et al a number of times.
I saw the Dead in the late 70's

my dead ticket stubs are somewhere distant,
save them for another post.
here are a few more recent Band & Levon Helm Band concerts we have been to

So incredible.
Today this youtube gift link appeared,
enjoy this link to great music & synergy

Monkton Chronicles election 2.23.12

Monkton Chronicles

election results

Thursday 2.23.12 Vote

(that's a weird day)

on the

Unified Planning Document


Unofficial results from phone call

passed 130-128

(not on the website?)
(what is all the fuss about?)

check out unified planning document & minutes from 1.26.12 selectboard mtg

The election results should be contested
and hopefully one of the 128 will protest,
or maybe one of the 90%
who did not vote will protest? (if they did not know)

Either way, I am limited in my ability to fight.
I am not, however, limited so far in my freedom to speak
in my blogosphere.
Hope this will serve as historic record of
a vote
where property owners lost something
and not quite sure what it is yet.
When you read the UPD, the unified planning document
and then you look out the window at monkton,
a rural town of less than 2000 people,

you wonder why we need all these additonal restrictions
on our property.
You wonder who profits from these rules,
who benefits,
who pays.
There is too much fine line, ink and lawyering behind many rules
like gravel extraction.
rocks is about all we have left,
they want to take that away too.
I hope for skeptics to come forward
and stand up
against the strange tactics that got me out to vote on a Thursday,
no crowds, no waiting, parked right in front
one of the 128.

mary gerdt all rights reserved.
the feelings expressed herein are my own,
i am a person,
a woman,
a voter,
not a household couch
(this refers to we got a courtesy postcard re the vote last saturday
before the vote addressed
to my husband only. I asked about this and was told
it was a courtesy and only went to households.--is that like corporations are people? I want my name, the wo-man voter in the house also on the postcard. mary)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Music link

Thanks to Herrad across the pond who shared this gem of a
link to
the Kinks
happy friday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Battle & Reflection

Battle & Reflection

tommy & me

it is a strange little shadow box
with a mirror back,
found @ a rummage sale
& I in put little special stones,
one 82 cal lead slug
Florence Nightingale's quote,
"I think one's feelings are wasted in words,
they should all be distilled into actions
which bring results."
Not that I totally agree with that which was
the reason for the dinosaurs, 'gators,
rocks & the elephant gun slug
we bought in Chambersburg,PA
(& why I am a nurse blogger, not a war nurse)
Florence was a nurse in the Crimean War
which gives a layer of meaning to her quote.
She started forensic nursing then, lending
sensibility, order & science to abhorrent conditions.
In our daily battles,
 when dodging monsters,
sticks & stones,
we are grateful
& there is no doubt we are guided by
Guardians Angels
obvious after some time
 further reflections on the battle.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


somehow i found the patience
to calmly explain to annie
that i was not implicating her in
my frustration
with the
medication copay assistance program glossy paper

and still i told her that
i had to express it was wrong
of me to have to pay $250 for 1 month
when they said i only had to pay $35,
it was
you know,
* <---there
do you see it now?
i told annie that when they put an asterisk,
perhaps they should write,
in your case,
$35 is $250...

i told annie, it is not right not to explain exactly what i owed
and she said they changed the rule yesterday
and now 35 is 35
and not 250
and she was sorry,
it does not count for me
for last week
but it would from now on.

i explained to annie,
that if i was not a neuro nurse with 4 years of taking copaxone
(now suddenly happy for 4 years w/no copays, no insurance claims)
so i could see how well it made me
then when i had to deal with a 250$ a month copay,
i would probably say bag the whole mess,
especially after I got a bill for $750 for 30 days
(my 20% copay),
but they said do not worry,
and i thanked annie
and for her mental health i terminated the phone call amicably.

then wondered how i ever could capture my emotion
to put on my blog and i find
myself a little
except what i could squeeze out above,
it does not capture my total feeling
of being a cog,
and suffering the inability to control
this pharma-machine

i read my fellow bloggers w/ms
and what crap we all have to deal with to get
just what i feel are the basics.

hope you do not become incapacitated
the battle w/ the MonSter
or the struggles against

Tuesday, February 21, 2012



It is the source of the best golden honey.
The source also of the myth that it is the allergen responsible for
ragweed allergies (so I heard and hold on to.)
It is just the most visible culprit, ragweed looking kind of ragged
and dull.
Goldenrod & Ragweed bloom at the same time and often together
in the same old field.
When my Dad was much younger and I was knee high to him,
I rushed home one day with a giant bouquet of
It was his birthday and I wanted to give him something special.
His reaction was seriously dissaproving and also repulsion, covering
his mouth and nose lest he have worse allergy symptoms.
He was already hacking and sneezing in the humid soggy late summer
thick pollen laden air.
I quickly ran out the door and threw them somewhere,
not sure what I had done, learning again
that sometimes a good deed just comes out wrong,
and Dad really dislikes the pretty golden flowers I found beside the road.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln II

Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln II

[*if there was a fictional or theoretically possible alternative path for Mr. Lincoln,
would it go something like this?]

Abe woke up in the hotel room, air cool and to his liking, with a freshness that
cleaned his mind.
Ah, for a moment, his sleep so delightfully deep, free from the awake world.
Waking can be stressful, and dreaming he felt a lightness, a rebirth so to speak.
The war was over.
Again and again, would every day left in his life start this way?
His shoulder pinched and he winced as a drop of blood came to the surface.
Another reminder of a miracle, that night, at the Ford Theater.
That night Elizabeth their waitress was bringing drinks and tripped over Abe's feet as the gun was raised
and the trigger was pulled. Abe fell forward and the bullet intended for his head glanced off his shoulder, ripping and tearing flesh and bone.
There had been some time elapse now and healing was marginally successful.
He reminded Mary of that often as she griped at his incapacitation.
He was alive, they were alive, and finally in Vermont as Mary had planned.
Their presidential suite at the Equinox was stunning, comfortable and worth settling into.
He may very well die here. Abe agreed to several speaking engagements in exchange
for permanent residency at the hotel. He and Mary left Illinois and Washington DC
for Vermont to escape all the rat races, the assassins, the political animals.
He sipped the local spring water and nudged Mary.
"It is time to vote."
She smiled and slowly mobilized.
December 18,1880.
Women had gained the right to vote.
Abe was 71, Mary 62.
They were feeling their age, but they proudly walked to the town hall
to vote in this historic election.

And yet there is a story perhaps farther fetched and still possible...
as Abe grew accustomed to local politics in Vermont, he started to notice
that while each voter was free to speak up, very few voters actually did speak up
and some did not vote at all.
As he wanted to level the playing field, he practised with
representing local people in their local town political fights.
Could you imagine how hard that was for local elected officials?
pretend monkton chronicles headlines Christmas 1880
Abe Lincoln is up against dare he...he is representing that uppity town citizen
who used to be quiet...
Abe Lincoln came to the town meeting again last night...says that is not how
they do in Illinois..well maybe we should show him what we do to flatlanders...
Abe Lincoln thinks his wife should vote, well nah nah...
Abe Lincoln believe town meeting antiquated in 1880....
So he thinks if he won the Civil War he can tell us how to run a town meeting?

OK, it did not happen,
Abe was assassinated and never made it to Vermont.
Abe's only child to live to adulthood, a son, lived in Manchester and built a mansion, Hildene.
Now all of Abe Lincoln's descendants are gone.
What if events had turned ever so slightly?
Just speculating on another way it might have happened,
Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln

Sunday, February 19, 2012


We ask questions sometimes not really looking for an answer.

As a nurse it is a struggle to listen, over and over, to pain, stress, anguish,

loss of control,


Often I have had revelations by asking a simple ho-hum, fill in the dead space w/small talk

One day while caring for a man from Canada,

who was seeking better treatment available to the wealthy

(american fee for service),

it began as a ho-hum day.

I felt sorry for the guy and I thought,

all the currency in the world

cannot buy you out of this

ill health.

He talked about his life and then we got to friends.

They had abandoned him.

His fancy house and lifestyle

was empty now,

filled with hollow memories of fair weather friends,

afraid to see a dying amongst their
a weakling,

a meek one.

As I read the Psalm Challenge at Daily Athens,
I remembered that story

of the man,
lonely, with riches, searching for a cure,
defined now by his illness,
not riches.

For me a lesson to be learned again and again,

it is not what you have,

it is how you live.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Musik Link

if monkton chronicles gave out
this one would win
wow, it is saturday and there must be a ramble
we have seen these two people there and this song is quite special,
thanks to them

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Music Link

Wonderful Blues link...

Alexis P. Suter,
nominated for blues award...
go join the blues people & vote!

Tree Rings

20 tree rings,
since ed walked here
his sawmill stood then
against the wind.
here a moment,
before it fell there,
memories hold
it up again.
for ed

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The space between 2

"we were caught” between “two worlds, one dead / the other powerless to be born"
matthew arnold

Do you remember when there was no
space between?
before you emerged,
were born,
& became

When your mother
could not help it,
she caressed your tiny head through
her thinning skin.

And when they cut the cord,
did you feel the cut?
Did you feel the sudden

or was the pain delayed,
your eager eyes ready to take on
the challenge
of a new life?

And when she is there
and you are here,
do you still feel the tug
of the cord?

and do you hear
her voice
late at night
and you look and she is not there,
was she?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Levon Helm & his Band won the best Americana album Grammy.
The Ramble at the Ryman is an all around superb gem.
C'mon, you must have a few credits on your itunes card?
You want to see & hear this one...

aw the music in my head this morning,
'rode into Nazareth,
was feelin' about halfway dead..."

"mister can you tell me where a man might find a bed?
he just smiled and shook his head, no was all he said..."

LL Cool J was a class act at the Grammies. I started following him on tweeter
after I just love his character & NCIS-LA.
Did not make it much past 9:30 est.

Street team posted the schedule in my margin. Levon going back out into Americana tour soon....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Greetings

This is from the archives.
Happy Valentine's Day

This postcard is by Ellen Clapsaddle artist and entrepreneur.

I know you have had a hard life.
As Levon Helm sings "You got to move a long train."

How do I know?
Because you read to find the truth, you travel the world wide web of words

We found these 100 year old old postcards somewhere and I looked up the artist.
Ellen, according to accounts on the web, was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
She was doing this captivating art for card companies. She ended up in Germany and was probably on the verge of being more successful in creating and selling cards. She had a partner in New York. A well travelled woman of early 1900's. World War 1 broke out and she was caught up in who knows what?
She was lost, no one heard from her. Her partner found her 6 years later in bad shape. She died in a mental institution where she played with dolls. This postcard haunted me. Such a playful artist.
I think of Ellen when think I am having a hard day. What did she do to survive? Could I have?
Hope you have a brighter day thinking of Ellen.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

No more Folks, please

In winter's tedious nights, sit by the fire With good old folks, and let them tell thee tales. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Sometimes you hear a word one too many times.

In fact, (my factual universe), in my opinion stream,
(as a common tribal blogger),
the most overused word in the last few years is


It grates me, like fingernails on a chalk board,
not the fake eraser board crap they make now,
the real old fashioned,
big, all wall,
Do you remember running your nails down a chalkboard in that classroom of the 1950-60's?

Are you really a "Folk"?

(i looked it up finally today, been meaning to, and it has interesting roots if you want,
just google it. discussion points for tribal suppers: tribal? Is this a distinction from the educated class?)

OK, back up. They have an overused word list every year. Somebody does,
someone in the word authority field. As if I am not a word authority myself.
Well, even an amateur status. That is what must make me a

folk blogger. n. informal,unvalidated uneducated science,history journalist, photographer, poet, lover of art, music, medicine
and sharing her limited folk-wit with the world at large
in a non profit but honest folk wage way. may travel in blog packs in the blogosphere. may be blonde :) 

So the word Amazing made the overused word list last year.
And I posted Sean Costello's video of him singing Amazing,
(which was, I am not sorry to say, Amazing!)
Come on, it is a great word to describe amazing things!

So now do you hear the word


and feel like someone is putting you in a tribe?
Like someone is placating the folk?
ah shucks politics again.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Nachtmusik

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Hugh Laurie link...perfection in musik.
have a great saturday...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Interview with a Clone Chapter 3

I really never intended to let out this whole story,
this history of the world's first clone
before it even happens.
Still, the story brewed within me for decades
and stories sometimes should come out.

Interview with a Clone Chapter 3

Alice woke up parched, cold and aching in every possible joint of her
perfect clone body. She thought it unfair that she should carry her mother's arthritic
flaws as well as her Goddess like physical attributes.
She stretched and slowly emerged from her down sleeping bag.
The hum of the generator meant her faithful assistant Georgia was up and
tending to business. They had power, furnaces,
running water to save their food supply
and livestock. They needed generators because the solar panels choked on the weak sunlight.
There was constant cloud cover for weeks at a time.
Bahama was an eerie snowy scene. The animals were more resilient
then the people. Many died initially, with the cataclysm.
Those who lived were stronger, they persevered.
Those left at this compound, her mother's dream lab,
and Alice weathered the storm
like her mother would have, with grace and power, tact and will,
never giving up, still taking help when she needed it.
The smell of bacon permeated the air, fresh biscuits drew her to the kitchen
where Georgia's daughter Katie was ready to serve up breakfast. Hot coffee
and the wood cook stove made Alice's joints more compliant. She closed
her eyes and sipped coffee.
"Good mornin' Ms. Karma, " Katie kept things formal, respectfully distant,
cool not from arrogance but from being a sub-person, a servant.

Alice nodded. She thought how she wanted to change whatever Katie
felt about feeling that Katie had to be here,
that Katie was owned by Alice. In so many ways, they were each a victim of this
island lab, their mothers' choices, the science that demanded perfection, discipline,
both of their mothers were slaves to the work, the work that created Alice. The work
that made a slave to Katie, even if only in her mind.

Georgia walked in, sweaty, tanned, looking more tired than usual.
"Good mornin' Ms. Karma," Georgia said in her familiar tone.
She was the one who brought Alice into the world. Georgia had been a midwife,
mechanic, housefrau, nurse, agent to Susan, Alice's mom.

Alice nodded respectfully to this woman who she loved as her mother.
Now, without her own mother, the most powerful force in Alice's life.
"Come closer to the stove," Georgia led Alice, "And warm up, darlin'".

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Best Cats

Best Cats
We have never gone
anywhere to
get a cat
or kitten.
Still we have had our share
of tending animals dropped off
or wiggling into our lives.
We started naming the ferals
by their colors.
This was Blacky,
another great cat,
even though she had a hunger for birds.
Blacky is gone now,
I found this old post photo.
We will remember her always
and wish she could have taken
that step to live inside.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Monkton Chronicles: For the record

Monkton Chronicles

I am a Monkton citizen.

For the record, I have tried to participate in town matters

By reading the minutes, responding, writing the selectboard

Many times.

Many, many times.

Still, all I have ever seen recorded in minutes

Is one excerpt from a letter I sent last year that no one found until I told them it was sent?

For the record, I do not believe in Tax sales or the 8% late penalty, or having a delinquent tax collector.

I believe the town clerk should be able to make what few phone calls need to be made.

I do not believe in annual tax sales.

For the record, I believe town offices should be open all day every day via web based

Real time Information posting.

I believe the town minutes should reflect what was discussed, not “those who were present discussed among themselves”.

I find myself at work again, unable to get to meetings but willing to write my heart out,

Like I have done for several years.

Still the selectboard seems deaf to my rants.

For the record,

I will not stop.

Mary Gerdt

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Preview of next movie

Battle @ Crown Point, NY
French Indian Wars

Have been looking for these pictures awhile.
This was a great re-enactment.
I started to make a movie
have hit a few snags.
So are some preview photos...

Monday, February 6, 2012

More milkweed

More milkweed images I found on an old chip.

Fall Milkweed

Milkweed seed right in the middle of view

Milkweed in fall

Chickadee on lilac

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dormant weeds

I took several photos of the open winter.
Then looked for some summer photos.
Dormant weeds,
actually a
for Goldenrod & Milkweed,
so essential for local
native honey & food & habitat for
Bees & Butterflies.
The summer archive photos:
Butterfly on Zinnia

Now they are Dormant,

Goldenrod Asleep

Milkweed Asleep

Since it is Sunday,
check out The Psalm Challenge, the weekly
primer on faith based thoughts, images, meanings.
It is a way of breaking down each verse into
understandable simplicity.
Great to see participants around the world
offer their interpretations.:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Save the Pigs

Monkton Chronicles
Petition link below:
How we can advocate saving some serious money
or what we did not know did not hurt us until we knew, now we taxpayers pay more.
Just dab some paint and fix the spots.
Where is Woody Jackson when you need him?
Save the Vermont Pigs! Petition | GoPetition case you do not know the story,
here is a link to the Chicago Trib article,0,2404634.story

What I really thought was ironic...
another news story from across Lake Champlain
Wild hogs
Link to Reuter's article

So it would appear that this is the year of the wild, errant pig!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rethink Town Meeting?

Great article by Victoria Rose Perkins
It is time to re-think town meetings and the faux control aw shucks chicken, pies
and knitting. Oh yes, and the screaming minorities while others sit silent
like a large percentage of us will do
when in a room full of people.

Woodchuck Day

The Monkton Chronicles
documenting Woodchuck Day 2012
as being on the milder side of winter,
without snow cover in the valley,
the ground is frozen mostly,
so woodchucks pretty much don't want to come out
in which case
it will be
6 more weeks of winter
or probably longer.
There has been a woodchuck up back
we see in summer, he
would keep his distance, blindly chewing
clover we happily mowed to keep him
Happy Woodchuck Day,
Vermont 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday Movie

A new tradition, perhaps?
Wednesday movie?
Why not, you must be exhausted from the political blah blah blah...
Why not enjoy a little history.
This movie is of Shard Villa, a care home in Salisbury, Vermont.
I took the photos all on one day 11/10/2009.
This was in the spirit of history.
Columbus Smith died 100 years earlier.
His story, his family story, a long one filled with gaps I cannot explain.
What I know, I have written about a few times and will again, later.
Enjoy for now, this simple movie of the Villa and some quirky issues with the dates
and one ceiling photo came out all black. That was the one
I wanted most-of the blonde woman. I will not explain in paranormal terms,
because I have no proof.
Maybe call it Random Wednesday movie?
see how this one goes...
Shard Villa 2009 by Mary E. Gerdt all rights reserved